Spirituality And Beliefs Essay Research Paper Spirituality

Spiritualty And Beliefs Essay, Research Paper

Spiritualty and Beliefs: Deductions and Impact on Mental Illness and Psychiatric Disability Introduction I wish to get down this paper by playing a short piece of music composed by Richard Einhorn and inspired by the life and Hagiographas of Joan of Arc. At the age of 13 in 1425 this shepherd miss from the small town of Domremy in France began to hear voices. At 16 these voices were stating her that she had been given a godly mission to reunite France. It is said that she heard the voice of God when the church bell rang. This piece is called & # 8216 ; The Final Walk & # 8217 ; as she faces her executing. In 1920 about 500 old ages after her decease at the custodies of the church she was declared a saint. The footing of this paper have been the contemplations, conversations and reading over many old ages of a individual who has been endeavouring to explicate why it is that people who have been through the experience of a mental unwellness provide the potency of connexion with deeper parts of who we are in a manner that is non normally found. I have welcomed the Hagiographas of consumers themselves to give visible radiation to this inquiry, some surveies, and the current revival of treatment about the nature and demand for the religious dimension in life. It has been unfortunate that we have non recognized consumers as possible heroes of the journey of the & # 8216 ; dark dark of the psyche & # 8217 ; but alternatively have negated the religious facets of their psychic journeys. In so making we have failed to listen to their desires that rehabilitation takes history of the significance of where they have been and what they now understand as their ain mental and religious good being. I acknowledge that my geographic expedition of these issues is merely a beginning. The topographic point of the & # 8217 ; soul & # 8217 ; in recovery There was a clip, non that long ago when the connexion of spiritualty and mental unwellness would non hold been a valid subject when speaking about rehabilitation, mental wellness and intervention of the mentally sick. In fact spiritual concerns were frequently seen as a symptom or even cause of mental unwellness ( Pinches 1996 ; Smith 1994 ) , so individuals responsible for the intervention of the mentally ailment would endeavour to medicate, hospitalise in order to command, suppress or end such religious or spiritual experiences ( Watson ) . This to me was an unfortunate result, and non because of any desire to advance spiritual thoughts, but because the beginnings of the profession of psychological science, utilizing the Grecian significances of the words was refering the psyche. Psyche means psyche and psychological science is the survey of the psyche, psychologist is servant or attender of the psyche with abnormal psychology intending & # 8216 ; the agony of the psyche & # 8217 ; ( Elkins ) . Therefore if we as mental wellness professionals were to repossess the roots of our profession, as many people are seeking to make today, we could non see nearing the rehabilitation of a individual with a psychiatric disablement without sing the topographic point of & # 8217 ; soul & # 8217 ; in their recovery. This by no agency is a extremist construct, but in an effort to equilibrate the more empirical nature of intervention, people in this profession are looking back and repossessing the tradition which has ever been at that place, but in pattern frequently passed over or dismissed. Hillman wrote in 1975 & # 8216 ; Where there is connexion to soul, there is psychological science ; where non, what is taking topographic point is better called statistics, physical anthropology, cultural news media or animate being genteelness & # 8217 ; ( Elkins ) . And Jung wrote in 1933 that of all his patients over the age of 35, non one was healed who did non develop a religious orientation to life ( Elkins ) . Soul is a feminine construct with intensions of life and beauty. The psyche is hard to specify, which gives us a hint about its nature. Soul reminds us that there is another universe, far deeper, more meaningful than our logical procedures. We encounter her when we feel stirred by another individual, she is in the music that lifts us above ourselves, she is in the face of the kid who helps us gain what is truly of import, she is the ball in the pharynx, the tear in the oculus, the gap up when we face a stirring piece of art. The psyche can be felt, touched but ne’er defined. As David Elkins put it & # 8216 ; She will steal through the cyberspace of every conceptual system and easy evade every scientific expedition that goes in hunt of her & # 8217 ; . The ground I like and respond to what others have written about the psyche, is that it helps me explicate what it is about the relationships I have had over the old ages with people who have suffered from a mental unwellness. And I do non cognize why, and I have no cogent evidence or even a theory, but my connexions with the people with whom I have worked has more frequently had a feeling or relation to soul, than what I have known in other state of affairss and with other people. So my ground for reading, chew overing and desiring to compose these thoughts has come from a desire to explicate why the profusion, and why the relationships seem to assist me link with my psyche in the manner that they do. Soul is associated with deepness and unlike much of Western spiritualty which is about get the better ofing, turning, go uping, exceeding, psyche means traveling down, falling into the vales and sing the calamities of life, of being in a topographic point where the thought of mounting a mountain seems wholly beyond range. Soul is with us when everyone else has gone, when our self-importance is shattered, when entirely in the dark no 1 is interested in our hurting and we wonder how we will last until forenoon. And while no 1 would of all time travel looking for such hurting or experiences, when it is past, and we look back, it is possible to be thankful for it, because it opens something within us, it gives us a deepness, it makes us experience more human, and we know with some alleviation, that there is more to us than merely flesh and blood. Psychopathology is the most tragic call of the psyche, when a individual is in deepest hurting and confronted by decease, meaningless, isolation and solitariness. If you know anything about the originative procedure, most instrumentalists, authors, poets, creative persons have created their work, non from the mountain top, but from the topographic point of the psyche. For the last hebdomad our intelligence bulletins have been full of the landslide at Thredbo. When the first subsister was pulled from under the rubble 66 hours after the prostration of the Lodges, the word hero appeared as headlines. The saviors were heroes and so was the first subsister. You can conceive of the journalists interrupting their cervixs to be the first to speak to that adult male. He potentially will be making media interviews, be in the magazines and be composing his narrative of & # 8216 ; My 3 yearss under the debris and how I came through & # 8217 ; , and he could do a batch of money out of it. I am non dismissing the cogency of his experience, but it is interesting who our society chooses as heroes. In symbolic footings his experience would non be unlike that of many people who have had a mental unwellness, in the dark for long periods of clip, non cognizing if human connexion will of all time be possible, non cognizing if they will last, being wholly entirely, unable to travel, freedom being an semblance or a memory, confronting everything that they have of all time done and thought, entirely. These are experiences of the psyche or in mystical footings like the & # 8216 ; journey of the dark dark of the psyche & # 8217 ; . But do we do these people heroes? Do we admit their value by puting bold decorations on their thoraxs as they march as subsisters of an internal devastating war? Am I a saint or merely mad? The Christian tradition has had a slightly assorted response to people with a mental unwellness. The illustration of Jesus was non good sustained by the church. Jesus assorted with and healed many people & # 8216 ; possessed with devils & # 8217 ; which was the manner it was explained at that clip. In fact the first individual he of all time commissioned to & # 8216 ; state his narrative of mending & # 8217 ; was a Gentile healed of a host or 100 voices or personalities and the first informant to Jesus Resurrection was a adult female, Mary Magdalene who was besides healed of & # 8217 ; seven devils & # 8217 ; ( York 1992 ) . These two people given functions of the highest importance are examples from what was set out as the foundations of the Christian method of covering with mental unwellness. It was unfortunate that following this many people who saw visions, heard the voice of God were frequently tortured, killed, burnt and sometimes were subsequently made into saints. In 1484 Pope Innocent the 8th authorized the extinction of & # 8216 ; enchantresss & # 8217 ; who were considered devil possessed. The Malleus Maleficarum was published with its elaborate descriptions of classs and symptoms of enchantresss. Some faculty members who have studied this Latin papers now say that it so closely runs analogue to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual ( the clinical footing for naming mental unwellness today ) that any head-shrinker reading it would be able to place the modern equivalents for the classs of enchantresss ( York ) . Of class you can state, we are good above the construct of enchantresss and our diagnosing and intervention of people today. I feel nevertheless that we have non moved far plenty. The ambivalency which the church has demonstrated is truly another response by the wider community. This response can be interpreted as & # 8216 ; people with a mental unwellness may be hard to cognize what to make with, but on the other manus they seem to hold entree to experiences which we can non wholly price reduction as being wholly invalid & # 8217 ; . As a consequence I feel that in modern times we have non even considered the possibility that the experience is a valid religious experience. So all voices are bad, all visions should be repressed, and the individual themselves is besides negated as holding small value. In our overzealous compulsion with ground I think we have negated the unexplained and apparently irrational and in so making socialised the visionary and the listener into the function of receiver instead than giver of truth. Possibly like human history has frequently shown we may hold to wait 500 old ages to see it. The denial of spiritualty in the construct of intervention and remedy Sara Maitland wrote a lovely article in a recent OpenMind diary about the experience of hearing voices. The whole issue of hearing voices is a complex 1. It is normally considered a definite mark that person is sing a signifier of mental unwellness ( Kirk 1992 ) . The purpose of intervention is to take the voices. That is apprehensible given their potentially estranging, upseting and even unsafe effects. Sara asks & # 8216 ; Do all voice listeners want all their voices silenced at all times? & # 8217 ; She goes on to state that her voices are frequently comrades, expressive and glorious and they give entree to absorbing things about her, and that what she would wish, would be accomplishments to understand and decrypt the voices, non to quash them. & # 8220 ; My voices seem to me to be really like holding extremely active and intelligent yearlings in the house: the exhaustion they cause does non intend you want them dead & # 8211 ; it means you want them to act better. & # 8221 ; Sara besides goes on to speak about how psychopathology has non taken much involvement in the content of voices. At Joan of Arc & # 8217 ; s test she says that the content of Joan & # 8217 ; s voices was the rule concern. And even though the result for Joan of Arc was non good, the Inquirers did take the clip to determine the value of the content of her voices in relation to how she lived her life. Alternatively today to acknowledge to voice hearing is adequate to derive a label such as schizophrenic disorder and so people deny hearing the voices as it means more medicine or medical intercession or hospitalization and the feeling that you are at hazard. What Sara and other voice listeners are inquiring for is an geographic expedition of what are the existent significances of their voices, and instead than a pathologizing and stigmatizing, a proof of their experience and some facilitation in being able to understand it ( Maitland ; Kirk ) . I have been thankful for the Hagiographas of other consumers who have spoken about the importance of their experiences as possible topographic points of growing and proof, and the demand for their experience to be understood from a religious model ( Cooper 1992 ) . Some formal surveies done on the benefits of the religious dimension in relation to a individual & # 8217 ; s recovery have shown that spiritualty for some people is a existent header device, or it can be a beginning of societal support, while for others it is a model for understanding life events and supplying significance to what has happened ( Sullivan 1993 ) . Quoting Judith Miller & # 8217 ; An impressive figure of other clinicians and research workers have besides suggested that for some persons undergoing psychiatric episodes, the experience may really be positive and reconstr

uctive’ (Watson). Why then have we avoided this potentially positive side of the equation and repressed any spiritual connections of the experience of having a psychiatric illness? Sullivan proposes that we typically fear the discussion of the symbolic and mythic dimensions of the experience because it might encourage the person to become preoccupied with their inner life and consequently precipitate a relapse. But as he adds a person returning from such a journey with profound psychic experiences do not feel completely resolved until they have had the opportunity to put their experiences into words or art; to tell their stories. A person can emerge from a psychiatric episode with a belief like ‘Suffering is a punishment for something I did wrong’, ‘If I tried harder to be good, I could get well’ or ‘There must be some reason God has chosen me to suffer’ (Lindgren & Coursey 1995) These belief systems provide a meaning to an illness whether we like them or not. I am sure you have come across such expressions from consumers. So what do we do with it? Firstly we assume that because of the religious belief this person has a very low self esteem and so the religion is a negative thing and perhaps even the cause. As workers it would often be avoided, and the discussion repressed or the belief of the person dismissed as invalid. How did this help the consumer resolve the huge existential question? It didn’t, but gave the consumer the idea not to talk to you about such matters anymore, and merely reinforced the belief that suffering was a way of life and no one was going to help understand it differently. It probably goes without saying that the ability to perform the role of spiritual facilitator following the psychic journey of the soul requires certain skills and attitudes. Thirty-seven percent of consumers in one study who were interested in issues of spirituality said they did not want to discuss spirituality with their support workers. The reasons for this were to do with being misunderstood and the worker having a different belief system. But without some means of discussion and communication, how can consumers begin the explore the implications of their beliefs and be able to identify experiences which are perhaps harmful if there is no forum to do so? It has been suggested that what consumers would like is a ’soul mate’ who may be a friend, counselor or clergy person who is available and open to discuss these issues. Community implications of the separation of madness and spirituality People with a mental illness are often aligned with the ills of modern society. They have become the scapegoats for when things go wrong. Newspaper headlines are a testament to how we look for madness as the reason for mass murders, murder suicides, genocide, extreme cruelty. Did the person responsible have schizophrenia is often the first question asked by journalists? What was the reason they did this terrible act? So then all people with a mental illness become associated with violence, unpredictable and cruel behavior. They have then by default become the scapegoats for the human acts which cannot be logically explained and which go wrong. The scapegoat is an ancient image, originally an image of healing the community. In Jungian terms it is a form of denying the shadow the part of ourselves we do not want to know about, the repressed anger, hatred, the impulses which call into question our validity to be called human. Hebrew religious tradition had a scapegoat ritual which ensured the ongoing health, safety and spiritual well being of the whole community. At the festival of Yom Kippur the priest would choose a goat and all the negative elements of the community, the sin, disease, violence, psychic sufferings were all placed on the head of the goat. The goat was then sent out into the dessert, away from the community and the community now being rid of its ills was once again whole. In the modern context this ritual has continued as individuals or groups, seen as the cause of the communities ills have been ostracised in this manner, sent away, put away, allowed to live in cardboard boxes, given no resources to develop or gain any status of value, out of sight and out of mind. However the ancient ritual had another dimension which has been overlooked. The dessert was symbolic of renewal. It was the place of spiritual renewal for prophets, it was the place the Hebrew people developed an identity, and while it was a lonely and threatening place, it was associated with the learning the depths of the soul. So the goat was sent to the place of spiritual renewal. And as long as the people knew the goat was in the dessert, their own healing was assured. The goat was not forgotten. The healing was reliant on the community remembering the goat in the dessert, the goat was bearing their ills and because the goat was there, they were free of their own potential destructive elements. Madness is not just about a definition in a clinical textbook. In order for me to be considered sane, I am aware than someone else has been called insane. And in order for that insane person to have the potential of recovery from her/his insanity, then I must also have the potential to embody the qualities of insanity. This isn’t just about dualism or cosmic balance, but about the continuum of life along which we move and change. The goat in the dessert is not different from the community. It is a symbol of one aspect of the community. R.D. Laing criticized the placing of all the responsibility on the consumer to make their realities understandable to others. He said ‘Both what you say and how I listen contribute to how close or far apart we are’ (Miller). The person diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, is representative of an aspect of the community of which we are all a part. The problem with the modern scapegoat and definitions of clinical diagnoses is that the scapegoat is profoundly alienated from the community, not only in ritual but in belief. We assume the scapegoat represents his/her own problems and that they have nothing to do with me. And in so doing not only have we cut off those people labelled with the mental illness, but we have cut off any potential of healing the community as a whole. We have denied our part of the scapegoat and we have denied them and we have castrated ourselves from hope and healing. People with a mental illness, in the dessert, on the collective boundaries and the isolation and disintegration of their madness, carry within them a part of the spiritual health of the community. And this we have negated, the goat is at risk of dying from disconnection and for this we have suffered a great loss (Bellingham, Cohen, Jones & Spaniol, 1989). Symbols and their expression in psychosocial rehabilitation I believe that symbols are an important means of enabling the spiritual expression and development of people who have experienced a mental illness. There is a fantastic story of the closure of the psychiatric hospital in Trieste Italy. When the hospital was closing the whole community was involved in the preparation of it. The inpatients at the time decided on a symbol of their life being taken out into the community. Over time a story had developed among the patients around the large draft horse which worked for the hospital laundry. Each day the horse would leave the hospital laden with linen to be cleaned. This horse became a symbol of their freedom. So on the day that the hospital closed a parade was planned and the inpatients made a huge replica of the horse. Inside the horse was placed letters and poems of the inpatients expressing their hopes and dreams. Then as they pushed down the wire cages surrounding the hospital precincts, the patients pulled the horse out of the hospital grounds and into the streets of the community. You can still see the horse today in Trieste. When I started working at the Mission, there were some critics who felt that some parts of the programs such as art, craft, woodwork, music, drama and the association with the church were not really about rehabilitation. We were also meeting well meaning workers from other services referring participants who felt that learning to cook and budget was more important than art. This was perhaps why Cathy Harper and I presented a discussion at the Mental Health Conference on ‘There is more to life than learning to cook’. To me the devaluing of the creative and overtly spiritual aspects of programs was just another way of discounting the need for spirituality as an integral part of rehabilitation and negating the spiritual contribution that people with a mental illness make to the whole community. What I have spoken about today has not been about programs or models of service delivery but about something more fundamental, attitude and belief. Why are we here at this conference? Why do we work in this field? How do we really view people who have been through the experience of a mental illness? Yes we may believe in their underutilised potential. Yes we may consider the quality of the relationship with them as of prime importance. But if at the end of the day we are doing this simply because they need to receive what we can offer, then I feel we have missed the point, and I fear that one day history will merely label us with a more sophisticated form of paternalism. Alan Pinches a journalist and mental health consumer activitist concludes an inspiring article with these words; ‘With a breakdown, there is often a disintegration of personality and confusion in the thinking processes, in the early stages. All the ingredients of identity, meaning and purpose go back into the melting-pot, and a longer ‘ferment’ stage follows. In a long process much information and experiential learning grow into a new understanding of life. This understanding is often of a more fundamental nature:’I am human and I have unconditional worth’… Over time, a new synthesis can develop in us, a sense of true self can build up, wisdom can grow, and perhaps a realisation that the world’s priorities need not necessarily be ours. That we can be ourselves and pleased and proud at that. The seeker is then likely to justify his or her life’s quest with the argument that spiritual work is just as valid as any other form of work or vocation, and that society and the planet needs its thinkers, dreamers, poets, artists, writers and seers of visions’(Pinches 1996). For me, perhaps more than any other time, when the value of what we do and who we are is indicated by the dollar sign on a balance sheet, I think we need seers of visions, people who have journeyed into the depths and we need to hear what they have to say. Reference List Bellingham, R., Cohen, B. Jones, T. & Spaniol, L. (1989). Connectedness: Some skills for spiritual health. American Journal of Health Promotion 4(1). pp. 18-31. Cooper, E. (1992). To be rooted. The Journal of the California Alliance of the Mentally Ill 3(4). p.15-16. Elkins, D.N. (1995). Psychotherapy and spirituality: Toward a theory of the soul. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 35(2). pp. 78-98. Kirk, R. (1992). The next voice you hear: Other pathways on a spiritual journey. The Journal of the California Alliance of the Mentally Ill 3(4). p. 33-34. Maitland, S. (1997). Whisper who dares: On psychiatry’s simplistic approaches to the hearing of voices. OpenMind 84. p. 10-11. Miller, J.S. (1990). Mental illness and spiritual crisis: Implications for psychiatric rehabilitation. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal 14(2). pp. 29-47. Lindgren, K.N. & Coursey, R.D. (1995). Spirituality and serious mental illness: A two-part study. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal 18(3). Pp. 93-111. Perera, S.B. The Scapegoat Complex: Toward a Mythology of Shadow and Guilt. Inner City Books Toronto. Pinches, A. (1996). Spirituality: the missing link in psychiatry. New Paradigm November 1996. pp. 8-11. Smith, W.J. (1994). The role of mental health in spiritual growth. Journal of Religion in Disability and Rehabilitation 1(2). pp.27-40. Sullivan, W.P. (1993). ‘It helps me to be a whole person’: The role of spirituality among the mentally challenged. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal 16(3). pp. 125-134. Watson, K.W. (1994). Spiritual emergency: Concepts and implications for psychotherapy. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 34(2). Pp. 22-45. York, R.L. (1992). Something discarded. The Journal of the California Alliance of the Mentally Ill 3(4). pp. 3-6.

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